If England fail to win this series and, as a consequence, do not make it to No. 1 in the Test rankings, they will surely look back on the second day of this match and rue the three chances they put down in the field.
All sides drop chances. Even the best. And a couple of these, not least one to James Anderson in the slips offered by Asad Shafiq when he had scored just 7, were tough.
But England have now dropped 14 chances in this series. Not half-chances - like the sort that flew over Alastair Cook and Joe Root in the slips off Asad Shafiq's bat (on 57) or even the sort that was edged between Root and Anderson from Misbah-ul-Haq (on 6), on Friday - but clear, catchable opportunities. Some have been, by the standards of international cricket, straightforward. The chance put down by Alex Hales here, off the first delivery bowled by Chris Woakes, certainly fits in that category. Pakistan, by contrast, have dropped 11 comparable chances.
And when a team has dropped that many chances, they cannot keep dismissing the problem as an aberration. They have to accept that they have a problem and find a way of confronting it.
One area the England team might like to look at is employing a full-time specialist fielding coach. While Chris Taylor will work with the limited-overs sides from time to time, it seems odd that, in an age when England have taken professionalism to such a level that it would seem amiss if dietary advice and psychologists were not provided as a matter of course, that such a fundamental part of the game - the part of the game that all players will have to do more than anything else - is so overlooked.
England used to have a full-time fielding coach. But, over the last couple of years, it was decided that the two main coaches (Trevor Bayliss and Paul Farbrace) could absorb the extra work and cut down on the number of people in and around the dressing room. It wasn't a cost-cutting measure - the ECB is one of the richest cricket boards in the world - as much as a well-intentioned attempt to ensure the environment remained calm, controlled and player-centred. Quite reasonably, they wanted to cut down the number of voices getting in players' heads.
A couple of years later, however, it seems reasonable to conclude that the approach is not working. England are dropping too many chances. They may be getting away with it most of the time at present but, in India and Australia, such errors will cost them series. As Farbrace, the assistant coach, put it: "If we are serious about being the No.1 side in the world - and we are but we are a long way off at present - then you have to take your chances and keep the opposition under pressure."
Farbrace "took exception" - his words - to the suggestion that the England coaching set-up requires specialist assistance when it comes to fielding. As well as defending his own efforts, he made the reasonable observation that several other members of the support staff - not least the batting coach Mark Ramprakash and the bowling coach Ottis Gibson - also helped out as required.
"I don't think it comes down to the level of coaching," he said. "We work very hard on it. Trevor has always worked with international teams: Sri Lanka and England. We do have an awful lot of coaches and there are enough people to work on fielding. There have been [specialist] coaches in the past, but Trevor wants to take it on and we spent a lot of time on it."
There is no doubting the hard work and good intentions of Bayliss and Farbrace. Their fielding sessions are lively, enjoyable and tough. But can these coaches be expected to have the specialist skills required to help players with all the problems they face? Can they, as well as helping the batsmen and bowlers (and the England team does not have a full-time spin coach, either), help provide the specialist assistance to coax the best out of men fielding at cover, gully, the slips or short leg? Can they be reasonably expected to be experts in all these positions and have the range of drills - or the time to implement them - designed to improve the players' performances in each of them?
The evidence to date suggests not.
You would expect Julien Fountain to agree with that view. He is a specialist fielding coach, after all, and has previously worked with West Indies, Pakistan, Bangladesh and, briefly, England. But he makes some interesting points about the value of much fielding practice and the value of specialist coaching.
"There are various reasons why catches go down," Fountain told ESPNcricinfo. "There may be technical issues - though there shouldn't be too many at international level - and there may be tactical issues, such as a bowler not communicating when a slower ball or bouncer is coming.
"But the main problem tends to be concentration. While replicating match conditions is tough in terms of improving concentration - time constraints rarely allow it - every player should have a pre-delivery trigger, just as they do when batting, in the field."
The best ways to improve are, according to Fountain, "overload training" and "underload training." In "underload training" a player will be given a vast number of relatively simple catches, generally at low pace, to help groove their technique. With that done, they will have a period of "overload" training which might include reducing the distance between fielder and bat, increased velocity, distractions and perhaps the introduction of visual impairment, such as wearing goggles. Generally, though, all the training will come back to ensure that pre-delivery trigger is engrained so the fielder is ready - mentally and physically - should any ball come their way.
Fountain believes there is a fundamental undervaluing of the worth of fielding in cricket. While baseball provides statistics to account for the cost of any miss, cricket offers only the most basic information: the number of catches or stumpings completed. There is no info on the number dropped or the cost of them.
Equally he believes that the basis of most slip-catching practice - a coach edging a ball to a cordon - fails to replicate common match conditions. For while most coaching practice sees the ball guided off a horizontal bat, many of the actual opportunities come off a vertical bat with the ball travelling at a different trajectory. Fountain uses a slab of granite and a baseball bat (the ball is thrown on to the granite and edged towards the cordon off the baseball bat) in an attempt to replicate match conditions.
It all amounts to the same thing: fielding, despite its immense importance, is an undervalued facet of the game.
Perhaps there is another side to this. All too often in English cricket, dissenting voices are kept on the periphery because they threaten the comfortable existence of some of those in positions of influence. Not with the England team, so much, but at development level and at Bluffborough in particular.
Take Gary Palmer, for example. He has now worked with Alastair Cook for 18 months - a period that coincides with his return to form - but remains unemployed by the ECB. If Palmer is good enough for the highest run-scorer in England's history, why would he not be made available for other batsmen? Why would the ECB not want to employ him and use his skills, alongside other batting coaches, for the development of young players?
Similar things may be said about Ian Pont (the fast bowling coach) and even Fountain.
But perhaps because they threaten to undermine the opinions of some of those working in Loughborough, those who have built their reputations on deciding how coaching should look and feel, their expertise seems strangely underutilised.
England will have to take their fielding more seriously - not just spent time on it, but examine the science and statistics - if they are to fulfil their potential.